Recently I found a stash of photos taken on our 3 week European Honeymoon. I am obsessing over them. It also made me flash back to a blog I wrote years ago in regards to packing for such a trip. I have since discontinued the old blog and reimagined this one! So for a flash from the past, check out my 3 Week European Packing List below!
Prior to our honeymoon, I read everything I could about packing for our European backpacking adventure. The trip would take us across three different climates, several countries and expose us to many cultural taboos. My version of backpacking had always been camping oriented, so trying to plan for this particular trip was stressful. I focused my attention on articles about not looking like a tourist (i.e. American tourist) but ofcourse as soon as we arrived, the fashion in Europe was AMERICANA. So while I harped on my husband about packing his nice slacks, denim was in. Tshirts with dumb English slogans and Lady Gaga paraphernalia were everywhere.
I found that despite this particular fashion trend, there were a couple rules adult Americans should follow while traveling in Europe. (I say Adult because these rules do not necessarily apply to college students and high school bands traveling abroad.)
1. No “American” tshirts. (I interpreted this as College wear. Anything that has some stupid slogan, any random branding, any ‘I heart’ whatever tshirts or sports memorabilia etc.)
2. No white tennis shoes or baseball hats.
3. Wear lots of black. Europeans like black.
4. No fanny packs. (But seriously…unless you’re my 64-year-old, retired-cop father who still carries his gun in a small fanny pack on his hip…fanny packs are never okay.)
5. Fitted clothes over slouchy. (This goes for the guys too.)
For all the research I did though I could not find one sample of a packing list for such a trip. For that reason I’m posting several lists. The first is what I actually packed. The second is what I wish I had packed. The third is what I ended up buying and then had to pack or ship back home. **The starred items were indispensable.**
What I Packed:
*1 Pair of black skinny jeans (Cannot emphasize enough how perfect these were for the trip. Easy to dress up or dress down. Fashionable but classic. Always looked good.)
*1 Pair of dark denim skinny jeans (Again, perfect for the trip.)
*1 Pair of black Coach tennis shoes (Comfortable but not too casual for exploring museums/ruins etc.)
1 Pair of black ballet slippers (Wore these twice in Scotland and quickly realized they were not indestructible.)
*1 Pair of brown knee-high Born boots (Saved my freaking life!)
1 short, black ballet dress
*1 short, green dress (Super cute. Wore it several times. Only issue was bloating. Celiacs bloat when eating wheat. A celiac in Italy bloats alot and looks like a sausage in a super cute green dress…)
1 long, black sleeveless dress (Never wore it.)
*1 black long sleeved cardigan with little pockets (Lived in it.)
*1 Black short sleeve sweater
*1 White short sleeve shirt (This was perfect for photo ops in colorful places.)
1 Blue/White striped short sleeve shirt
*1 Black tank top (Went with everything. Easy and comfortable when traveling.)
1 Green tank top
*1 Long sleeve white shirt
*1 black Northface jacket (Always travel with it. ESPECIALLY if exploring some place like Scotland or climbing a mountain in Germany.)
1 brown skinny belt
*Ridiculous amounts of socks
*Appropriate amounts of underwear
*1 Floral infinity scarf (Made it easy to change up my outfits when I was feeling monotonous.)
*1 Black Marc Jacobs sling bag (Large enough to slip my large camera in but small enough that it didn’t draw attention to us as tourists)
1 small camera bag w/ a good Camera (Invest in a decent camera. You will not regret it.)
*1 small, cheap folding backpack (Best to pick this up at a travel store for a few $’s. You won’t feel bad trashing it and it folds up to the size of a wallet.)
*1 Pair of pretty but cheap earrings you’re not concerned about losing.
*My work/man ring in place of my engagement ring/wedding band
1 Pair of khaki Bermuda pants (I wore these once because my husband said they would be comfortable. I hated it. I felt slouchy and uncomfortable among the fashionable European women.)
1 Pair of jean shorts (I rarely wore these except in southern Italy.)
Wish I had Packed:
1 Stocking cap
1 Pair of light gloves
Lingerie (Thought it made sense not to haul lingerie around everywhere but shit…it was our honeymoon…)
Things I bought THEN had to pack:
3 (Yes, 3) dresses
*1 stocking cap
*1 pair of gloves
1 super short skirt for the beach
*1 sun hat (This was so Italy! Loved it.)
*1 black blazer (Wish I had purchased this earlier because it was so perfect for travel!)
Looking back I would have packed less tops and less dresses. The great thing about our planning was that we were able to stay on a DOD (Department of Defense) military resort in Germany and washed all our clothes about half way through our trip. So in theory I could have packed half of what I did. The issue being that we were traveling over three very different climates and had to pack for each. In fact, in Germany not only did I do laundry but I sent back a small box of thicker clothing that I knew I wouldn’t wear in Italy.
The bottomline is layer, layer, layer. Plan in layers and slowly ship back clothing and souvenirs as you change climates. A couple of tank tops, a couple of shirts, two dresses, one sweater and a multi-purpose cardigan would have done it.
But hey, you live, you travel and you learn.